We are a clinical stage pharmaceutical company that engineers novel biotherapeutics. Our mission is to transform the lives of patients affected by life-threatening rare diseases.

Based on a deep understanding of the biology of rare diseases, including molecularly-defined cancers, heritable disorders and pediatric diseases, Formation Biologics identifies therapeutic targets that are central to the disease process. Subsequently, our scientists apply advanced protein engineering methods to design biotherapeutics that are positioned to become the new standard of care.

Formation Biologics was founded in 2011 as a management-led spin out from YM BioSciences (prior to YM's acquisition by Gilead), and has particularly deep expertise in the development of antibody-drug conjugates and TGF-β superfamily inhibitors.


Phase 1
Phase 2
Phase 3


Anti-EGFR antibody-drug conjugate for the treatment of EGFR overexpressing solid tumors

AVID100: Potent Antibody-Drug Conjugate for Treatment of EGFR-Overexpressing Tumors

AVID100 is an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) against EGFR, a cell surface protein that plays important roles in cancer. ADCs combine the precise targeting ability of antibodies with the cancer-killing action of highly toxic drugs. High levels of EGFR are found on the surface of tumor cells, which potentially makes EGFR a highly attractive target for an ADC. However, the development of conjugates against this target has been hindered due to the fact that many normal tissues also express EGFR, raising the possibility of on-target toxicity. 

By utilizing our team’s deep expertise in EGFR biology, as well as screening for and development of EGFR inhibitors and ADCs, Formation Biologics was able to successfully develop an ADC against EGFR with a favorable efficacy/toxicity profile. A unique anti-EGFR antibody was identified which, when conjugated to a validated highly-potent cytotoxic payload, exhibits significantly enhanced potency against tumor cells, without a corresponding increase in potency against EGFR-positive normal cells.
AVID100 is currently undergoing Phase I/II trials in EGFR-overexpressing tumors, with an initial focus on breast and head & neck cancers. For more information on the ongoing AVID100 Phase I/II clinical study, please visit www.clinicaltrials.gov


Isoform-selective TGF-β inhibitor for use in immune oncology and rare diseases

AVID200: Isoform-selective TGF-β Inhibitor

TGF-β’s are a family of secreted ligands that play key roles in cancer and rare diseases. There are three TGF-β isoforms in humans. TGF-β1 and -β3 are strongly implicated in several disorders with blockade of these ligands resulting in reversal of these diseases. In contrast, inhibition of TGF-β 2 is undesirable, since blockade of TGF-β2 is associated with promotion of cancer metastasisnegative effects on hematopoiesis and cardiac toxicity.
All three TGF-β isoforms share a high degree of homology. This creates a significant barrier for creating inhibitors that are sufficiently potent, yet selective for TGF-β 1 and 3. Utilizing our deep expertise in the field of TGF-β structure-activity relationships, Formation Biologics scientists successfully overcame this barrier and engineered a novel biotherapeutic, AVID200, that is 1,000 fold more selective against TGF-β1 and -β3 compared to TGF-β2. AVID200 blocks TGF-β1 and -β3 with pM potency. We believe this high level of potency is required to efficiently inhibit secreted ligands such as TGF-β, which generally act locally. AVID200 is undergoing IND-enabling development for use in immune oncology and rare diseases.


Next generation antibody-drug conjugates


Next generation TGF-β superfamily inhibitors


For partnering and business development enquiries, please contact us at: bd@formationbiologics.com

Research Collaborations

If you are a clinician or researcher interested in collaborating with us, please contact us at: info@formationbiologics.com


Ilia Tikhomirov President and CEO

Ilia is an entrepreneur and inventor of several products under development by Formation Biologics. At Formation Biologics, Ilia built a strong leadership and advisory teams, raised a multiple rounds of financing, and in-licensed additional drug candidates. Prior to Formation Biologics, Ilia occupied positions of increasing responsibility at YM BioSciences Inc. (YM), a publicly traded oncology drug development company that was acquired by Gilead Sciences in a $500 million transaction. His findings at YM led to the creation of an antibody technology and ultimate spin-out of Formation Biologics from YM prior to the Gilead acquisition. Ilia completed undergraduate and graduate scientific training at the University of Toronto and also holds an MBA from Rotman School of Business.

Maureen O’Connor-McCourt Chief Scientific Officer

Maureen is an expert in the discovery and development of targeted biological therapies. She has published over 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts, including over 50 publications in the TGF-β field. Maureen also holds numerous patents, the majority of which are under active preclinical and clinical development by biotechnology companies. Prior to joining Formation Biologics, Maureen was Principal Research Officer and Section Leader at the Canadian National Research Council (NRC). While at NRC, Maureen served as a Scientific Leader of NRC's Biologics Program, a pan-Canadian network of over 10 research teams. Under her leadership, this program established a successful track record in developing innovative protein therapeutics. Maureen is the recipient of many awards, including the prestigious Gervais-Dionne Award (2012) for her work on “New Cancer Targets and Matching Antibodies for Diagnostic and Therapeutic Use”.
Maureen received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Alberta and completed post-doctoral training at the laboratory of Drs. Michael Sporn and Anita Roberts, where TGF- β proteins and their relation to carcinogenesis was newly-discovered.

Paul Nadler M.D., FCP, FACP Chief Medical Officer

Paul has a long and successful track record in clinical development of novel agents for the treatment of cancer and immune system-mediated diseases. He has led development of successfully marketed biologicals, including cytokines and monoclonal antibodies, as well as small molecules. Previously, Paul has served as Chief Medical Officer or Vice President of Medical Research for a variety of biotechnology companies such as Alexion Pharmaceuticals, OSI Pharmaceuticals, Protein Design Labs (including responsibility for preclinical development). As well Paul served with big pharma companies, including Vice President, Scientific Planning and Analysis, and Vice President, Medical Research, with Sandoz Research Institute (Novartis), and Director of Clinical Immunology, and Head, Section of Immunology and Virology, Department of Medical Research with Hoffmann La Roche. Paul has also served on a variety of Medical, Oncology and Scientific Advisory Boards, and advised government agencies, academic centers, and research institutes.
Paul's medical training is in Internal Medicine, Medical Oncology, as well as Clinical Immunology and Allergy. He received his M.D. from Washington University School of Medicine, trained in Internal Medicine at Barnes Hospital/Washington University Medical Center and spent five years in the Immunology Branch of the National Cancer Institute, NIH.

Robert Lutz Chief Development Officer

Bob brings extensive experience in the development of antibody-based therapeutics. Prior to joining Formation Biologics, Bob held various R&D roles over a 23 year span at ImmunoGen, Inc, where most recently he was Vice President of Translational Research and Development, with responsibility for all early stage antibody drug conjugate (ADC) development programs. In addition, Bob was a member of ImmunoGen’s portfolio research committee, served on numerous alliance committees supporting the R&D programs of ImmunoGen’s licensed partners, and was ImmunoGen’s research lead on Genentech’s trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla®) program.  Earlier, Bob was part of ImmunoGen’s Apoptosis Technology Inc subsidiary where he led the research collaboration leading to the discovery of the BH3 domain of the BCl-2 family of death regulatory proteins. Bob is also the principal consultant for Crescendo Biopharma Consulting where he provides strategic, tactical and operational input to emerging biotech and pharma.
Bob earned his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Brandeis University and was a research and postdoctoral fellow at the Eleanor Roosevelt Institute in Colorado.

Godfrey Amphlett VP of Manufacturing

Godfrey leads manufacturing activities at Formation Biologics and has over sixteen years of experience leading the development and manufacture of biologics and antibody drug conjugates (ADCs). Until 2016, Godfrey was a Vice President at ImmunoGen Inc, a leader in the field of ADCs, where he built and led the Process and Analytical Development department. His group developed and implemented over twenty processes for early stage conjugates and biologics and five processes for late stage and commercial conjugates, including Mirvetuximab Soravtansine and Kadcyla®. Prior to joining ImmunoGen, Godfrey was at Genetics Institute Inc for fifteen years, where he led departments responsible for process, analytical and drug product development of coagulation factors, bone morphogenetic proteins and lymphokines. He was directly involved in submitting successful license applications for five of these products. Godfrey is also the principal at Amphlett Consulting LLC where he advises on process development and manufacturing of biotherapeutics.
Godfrey earned his Ph.D. at the University of Birmingham, U.K. and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana prior to starting his career in the biopharmaceutical industry.

Scott Duncan Director of Intellectual Property

Mr. Duncan is recognized for the quality of his patent consulting services, which he has provided for the past 30 years to a diverse range of biotechnology companies. Prior to this, he built and managed Canada’s largest biotech patent estate during his tenure with Allelix, one of Canada's initial biotech companies, which was acquired by NPS Pharmaceuticals. His responsibilities within that role included the development of patent assets relating to transgenic crops, medicinal chemistry, protein drugs and expression systems, and in vitro diagnostics. Mr. Duncan has been a registered patent agent since 1986, when he qualified magna cum laude while working at a Toronto firm specializing in intellectual property.

Board of Directors

Walter Blättler Chairman

Walter is Chairman of Formation Biologics. Previously, he served as Vice President of Development at CoStim Pharmaceuticals, an immuno-oncology company acquired by Novartis in 2014. Walter is scientific founder of ImmunoGen where he served as an Executive Vice President of Science and Technology since 1996. Walter is the inventor of FDA-approved ADC Kadcyla® (trastuzumab-DM1) and SMCC-DM1 payload technology.
Prior to joining ImmunoGen at its newly established laboratories, Walter held various positions at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, in Boston. In 1987 he joined ImmunoGen Inc., as Vice President and subsequently Senior Vice President, Research and Development. He has been a Member of Supervisory Board at Morphosys AG since May 2007. He served as a Director at ImmunoGen Inc. since September 1995. During his time with the company, ImmunoGen introduced multiple ADCs into clinical development and established several successful research and development collaborations with major pharmaceutical companies. Walter studied Chemistry at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich (ETH Zurich), and subsequently held a research position as a Post-Doctoral fellow at Harvard University, Cambridge, U.S.A. He received his Masters degree and his Ph.D. from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich in 1973 and 1978 respectively.

David Allan Director

David was the founding chairman in 1994, and CEO from 1998-2010, of YM BioSciences Inc. the haematology/oncology company acquired by Gilead Sciences Inc. in February 2013, was the Founding Chairman of Formation Biologics Inc., (previously AvidBiologics Inc). and the Executive Chairman from 2011 to March 2013 of Stem Cell Therapeutics Corp., (now Trillium Therapeutics).
He has been a member of the Awards Selection Committee for the Government of Canada’s Networks of Centers of Excellence, the Multidisciplinary Assessment Committee of the Canada Foundation for Innovation, a Governor of the Toronto Stock Exchange and a member of the Ontario Biotechnology Advisory Board. He is a board member of the regional biotechnology industry organization, Life Sciences Ontario.
He is the recipient of the 2017 Julia Levy Award from the Chemical Institute of Canada, the 2016 Leadership Award from Life Sciences Ontario and the 2012 Gold Leaf Award for Industry Leadership from BIOTECanada.

Joerg Gruber Director

Joerg is an Investment Banker and Venture Capitalist with over 30 years of experience in international finance. He is a Founder and Chairman of Tarix Pharmaceuticals Limited and also a Founder and Chairman of Pathfinder Cell Therapy Inc., a cell therapy company. He co-founded Clubb Capital Limited, a London-based corporate finance and venture capital firm with a focus on healthcare, in 1995 and has served as its Executive Chairman since 1999. Prior to his career in venture capital, Joerg spent 14 years in Banking and Investment Banking at UBS, Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers.

Ilia Tikhomirov Director

Ilia is an entrepreneur and inventor of several products under development by Formation Biologics. At Formation Biologics, Ilia built a strong leadership and advisory teams, raised a multiple rounds of financing, and in-licensed additional drug candidates. Prior to Formation Biologics, Ilia occupied positions of increasing responsibility at YM BioSciences Inc. (YM), a publicly traded oncology drug development company that was acquired by Gilead Sciences in a $500 million transaction. His findings at YM led to the creation of an antibody technology and ultimate spin-out of Formation Biologics from YM prior to the Gilead acquisition. Ilia completed undergraduate and graduate scientific training at the University of Toronto and also holds an MBA from Rotman School of Business.

Anthony Tolcher Director

Anthony W. Tolcher M.D., FRCPC FACP is a medical oncologist who has over 20 years of experience in drug development and clinical trials. Dr. Tolcher is also co-founder and president of START, the world’s largest Phase I medical oncology program. He has been involved in many studies of new agents that subsequently were FDA-approved including pembrolizumab (Keytruda™), trastuzumab-emtansine (Kadcyla™), regorafenib (Stivarga™), liposomal vincristine (Marqibo™), cabazitaxel (Jevtana™), carfilzomib (Kyprolis™), gefitinib (Iressa™) and eribulin (Halaven™). Dr. Tolcher completed his medical training at the the University of British Columbia and University of Toronto.


We are always pleased to hear from high-caliber individuals interested in joining our scientific, regulatory, clinical, or manufacturing teams. Please submit your CV to careers@formationbiologics.com or apply to one of the specific job postings below.


General inquiry

Please email us at: info@formationbiologics.com


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